Hosta Sieboldiana Plants
Meet Hosta sieboldiana and its many sports, including ‘Elegans’ hosta.
Botanical Names: Hosta sieboldiana, Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans,’ Hosta ‘Elegans,’ ‘Elegans’ hosta, Hosta sieboldii
Dig into any botanical names, and you’ll soon bump into a sieboldiana, named after a Bavarian plant collector, Phillip von Siebold. Hosta sieboldiana is a case in point. This is a common hosta that’s found in many gardens. It’s produced a host of sports and varieties, including Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans,’ which also goes by the name of Hosta ‘Elegans.’
Hosta sieboldiana is behind many of the common hostas. Chances are, if your garden has a bluish-green, mounding hosta that grows to an impressive size of 24 inches high to over 60 inches wide, it has some Hosta sieboldiana genes in its heritage. This hosta is named for its discoverer, a Bavarian doctor who dabbled in gardening. He delved into hostas during his work in Japan as a medical doctor, which occurred in the early 19th Century. He actually has another hosta named after him, Hosta sieboldii.
In the world of hosta varieties, Hosta sieboldiana is actually something of a mystery. The author of an extensive work on hostas published in 2009 discovered that most of the hostas in gardens and nurseries described as Hosta sieboldiana were actually Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans.’ The difference lies in the leaves. Hosta sieboldiana has leaves that are more greenish, while Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’ has beautiful dark blue leaves.
This may just seem like semantics, but in botanical circles, it’s been a real dust-up. In 2013, Japanese plant collectors think they located wild stands of Hosta sieboldiana. At some point, DNA tests will unravel the mystery. For now, if you want Hosta sieboldiana, you’ll probably be getting Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans.’ This beauty unfurls large leaves that stand 30 inches tall. Leaf color is dark blue until about midsummer, when it fades to green.
At maturity, this beauty forms clumps 5 feet across. It’s a stunner in the garden. The leaves are thick and heavily corrugated, making them slug resistant. You may also see this hosta listed as Hosta ‘Elegans’ or ‘Elegans’ hosta. If the leaves seem bluish, then you can be fairly certain you’re dealing with Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans.’
If you want to grow Hosta sieboldii, you’ll get a plant that has green leaves edged in white. The leaves are narrow, wavy and have a strong vein pattern, which gives them an eye-catching texture. Unfortunately these leaves are thin and a magnet for slugs. Hosta sieboldii is a small hosta, forming a mound 12 to 15 inches tall and 30 to 36 inches wide.